The WAY of GO

Copyright (c) 2000 Jianying Ji

Ji's initial idea can be summarized in the following desire: [to build a game where] each piece can move [and capture] exactly as far orthogonally as there are pieces around it regardless who those pieces belongs to. This very simple concept was worked out, and finally The Way of Go (or simply TWoG), a game that was seeking advise was born.

The game uses a 19x19 Go board, or for faster games a 13x13 board. The game starts with an empty board.

CONTRACT - Each player, before the game begins, defines his contract, i.e., how many stones he must capture.
If both player reaches contract in the same turn the contract is increased and the game is continued.
PIE RULE - On the first move, the first player places three pieces, 2 black and 1 white. The second player then decides which side to take. Then White takes the move and the game proceed normally.
MOVE - A player's move either consists of a optional non capturing move and a mandatory placement or a capture. This implies the following possibilities can happen:
The player places a piece on an empty spot.
The player makes a *NONCAPTURING* move (which could take it over other pieces) then places a piece.
The player places a piece then moves (NONCAPTURING MOVE) (which could take it over other pieces) a different piece.
Makes a capturing move and gets one point toward the contract, SACRIFICING however the capturing piece. NO placement allowed before or after the capturing move.
MOVE RANGE - A piece can move, along a rank or file, exactly as far as the number of liberties the group the piece belongs to have. If this move ends on an opponent piece then that piece is captured. The move/capture in getting to its destination could move over any number of pieces of any type as required. However one cannot capture one's own pieces!
GOAL - Fulfill one's contract of a set number of stones to be captured.

Two examples

The top position is very threatening to Black. Black must drop a stone adjacent to the White stone, just to sacrifice h9, in order to prevent White moving to cell [1], where White can attack 3 Black stones.

Ji send me another solution: instead of sacrificing h9 by placing adjacent to white stone, black should place a stone at g11, which denies any liberty to white, thus making it immobile, if it chooses to jump to g10. However if there is a white piece on g12, then black can't place on g11 without losing g9. In which case black is better served placing next to white.

The bottom position is weak for White. All 3 stones have range 8, and he cannot directly defend a Black dropping at one of the [2] cells.

The Art of Siege

White moved F2, J5-E5

White attacks stone F5. Black cannot place an adjacent stone near F2 (another stone is captured) and there are no safe cells to move F5 (can you see why?).

TWoG has many subtleties. Each player must try to surround chains of enemy stones in order to prevent them to escape when an attack begins. Placing stones near enemy ones, limit their ranges and make them more vulnerable. Grouping stones can be interesting to make longer attacks, but their short range defenses become weaker. Ji opinion about groups: In fact in TWoG, I think it is unlikely anyone can build a sustained group that is made by more than two pieces for this exact reason. So larger groups in TWoG would be 'snaky' with many turns. And most of the time larger groups are only 'outlined' like how in hex, many connections are not made until the end or when it was advantageous to do so. So the threat to create a larger group is perhaps more important.

Ji and me discussed an extra rule to TWoG, which is the ability of stacking stones, giving rise to different ranges on the same cell (since each stone of the stack may have different ranges). Adjacent stacks interfere with each other. Ji is currently working on the game, on his intriguing website. 

Other possible interesting variant is the ability to push a friendly stone placed on the destiny cell (and possibly capturing adjacent enemy stones). In the figure, if White moves M8-M5, it would push M5 to M4, and so capturing the Black stone at M4.

After some time, Ji worked on a new set of rules for TWoG, which was renamed BeSiege, with the following modifications:

Stones can only be dropped on neutral positions, i.e. positions neither attacked by white nor attacked by black.
Eliminate the contract. Game ends when one player has no legal move left. The winner is the one with more captures.
A player may move a piece onto friendly pieces to form stacks. the same applies to stacks.
The distance that a chosen stack moves, is equal to the liberties of the lowest stone in the stack.
Note that the player do not have to pick all the stones of a cell, he can choose an upper subset of stones, thus dividing the stack in two parts.

The top B3 piece can go 4 spaces away since it has no neighbors on that level. the top two pieces together of B3 can go 6 moves away, and the whole stack on B3 can go 5 moves away due to the black piece on C3.

Upon capture of stacks, the difference of the two stacks remain.